Following Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s indictment of former President Donald Trump, Trump has continuously posted about his indictment on social media, but that could change considering it is “extremely likely” the judge presiding over Trump’s case could issue a “gag order,” forbidding the former president from speaking about it.
According to Cornell University’s Law School, a “gag order” is when a judge prohibits attorneys, parties, or witnesses in a lawsuit or criminal prosecution from making public comments about cases.
Duncan Levin, a former federal prosecutor with the Department of Justice (DOJ), told the Daily Mail that Manhattan’s Acting Supreme Court Justice Juan Merchan will likely issue a “gag order” on Trump.
If Trump violates the order by speaking about the case outside the courtroom, he may be fined $1,000 and receive 30 days of jail time.
JUST IN: NY judge reportedly issuing gag order on Trump, threatening 30 days in jail.https://t.co/iDWG5agfVV
— Collin Rugg (@CollinRugg) April 2, 2023
Referencing Merchan, Trump said, “The judge ‘assigned’ to my Witch Hunt case, a ‘Case’ that has NEVER BEEN CHARGED BEFORE, HATES ME.”
“His name is Juan Manuel Marchan, was hand picked by Bragg & the Prosecutors, & is the same person who ‘railroaded’ my 75 year old former CFO, Allen Weisselberg, to take a ‘plea’ deal (Plead GUILTY, even if you are not, 90 DAYS, fight us in Court, 10 years (life!) in jail,” Trump added.
“He strong-armed Allen, which a judge is not allowed to do, & treated my companies, which didn’t ‘plead,’ VICIOUSLY. APPEALING!” he continued.
It is never a good idea to suspend the Constitution in order to get your political enemies.
The ruling party is OUT OF CONTROL. https://t.co/KSvslhLzo2
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) April 2, 2023
Levin told Insider: “I think it’s not only a possibility, but it’s extremely likely that there will be a gag order in this case.”
“Gag orders are very common in criminal cases, particularly in cases where there is an enormous amount of pretrial publicity like this one,” he added.
Former Manhattan prosecutor Michael Bachner shared Levin’s sentiment, arguing that “a court has a right to and often does issue gag orders in high-profile criminal cases.”
Bachner said it might be difficult for Merchan to issue a gag order because Trump can argue, as a presidential candidate, that the order violates his right to interfere with his voters.
“It’s going to be a very interesting First Amendment issue,” Bachner added, saying that Trump needs to be careful with what he says and that his lawyers should be better at managing Trump’s public relations.
“Trump has to know that the people he is speaking to — just a small number of them — their reactions to what he says may be unreasonable but still foreseeable and violent but still foreseeable,” he continued.
Trump received an indictment for allegedly making “hush money” payments to adult film actress Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election. He is the first former president in history: to be charged with a crime.